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tv   CNN Tonight With Don Lemon  CNN  December 9, 2016 12:00am-1:01am PST

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and i am a senior public safety my namspecialist for pg&e. my job is to help educate our first responders on how to deal with natural gas and electric emergencies. everyday when we go to work we want everyone to work safely and come home safely. i live right here in auburn, i absolutely love this community. once i moved here i didn't want to live anywhere else. i love that people in this community are willing to come together to make a difference for other people's lives. together, we're building a better california. a president-elect like no other takes his show on the road. >> i'm here today for one main
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reason, to say thank you to the great, great people of iowa. >> this is "cnn tonight." i'm don lemon. 43 days until donald trump takes the oath of office. he announces more members of his team today. but what do his cabinet picks tell us about what he'll really be like as president? plus, the last great american hero, how john glenn's courage inspired america. let's start off with cnn jeff zeleny in des moines for us. jeff. >> reporter: don, day by day we are getting more word of who will be in donald trump's cabinets. he is adding more names to the list. he is nearly three-quarters of the way finished with his cabinet, at least the nominations. of course they all have to be confirmed by the senate. tonight in iowa he focused on the epa. scott pruitt is oklahoma attorney general, he is a denier of climate change and led the way against many obama-era regulations.
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donald trump touted it tonight as a good thing. >> we are going to end the epa intrusion into your lives. [cheers]. >> on energy, we will cancel the job-killing restrictions on the production of american energy. we will also pursue an agenda of conservation protecting our beautiful natural resources for future americans, your family, your children and lots of other people, and we're going to ensure clean air and clean water for all of our people. >> reporter: now, don, democrats are sounding the alarm about the pick of scott pruitt to lead the epa. they believe he will erase all of the obama-era regulations, but of course that's another example of how elections have consequences here. look for him to be confirmed in the senate, the republican-controlled senate unless something comes out along the way. democrats said they will object and scrub his background fully,
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but donald trump touting scott pru irt as his pick. also an odd development here. we are learning from the trump campaign donald trump is planning to remain on board with "celebrity apprentice." he is an executive producer of that, a show owned by nbc. he is going to retain that position and he is going to, he says, accept a salary from that. it raises many questions including conflict of interest questions with nbc. now, they have not returned our calls for comment, but the trump campaign says that donald trump will remain involved in this. to what extent we don't yet know. someone scribbled it more as a royalty situation. for example, president obama was an author before going into the white house. he received royalties for his books, similar to this. hope hicks a spokesman for the trump transition said donald trump conceived of the show and will remain attached to it in the white house. don. >> jeff, thank you very much. i want to bring in three men with the ear of americans, radio host john fredrick, joe madison
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and dennis frager. we know it will be a great conversation when we have you. good evening. dennis, you first. what do you make of donald trump staying on as executive producer of "celebrity apprentice"? >> this is the worst possible answer you could receive, don. nothing. i make nothing of it. it is a non-issue. you even had folks on your show the last hour that said the same thing. there are so many big issues for the media to take consideration, into consideration. i don't think this is one of them. it is truly in the royalty realm. >> yeah. i don't really hate what you said. it means nothing to me either, but we have 24 hours here and we certainly can discuss it at length and whether he is staying on. as a matter of fact, i mean it would be great if i could get some of the royalties but i can't. matter of fact, i think it is too what david gergen says. he says it may be okay for him to do that, but it is also about appearances and whether it -- how it looks for a president of
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the united states to be associated with "the apprentice." joe madison, what do you make of that? >> well, if it is just royalties, in other words he is just going to get a check because he puts his name, is on the scroll as executive producer, then you guys are right. it is nothing. but let me quickly say, you know, sometimes when you compare to a book, when you write a book, the book is written, it is done. and so you don't add to it, you write it. but when you start talking about a reality show, things can happen in those shows. things can be said in those shows, and now the president of the united states' name will be on that show, and that's what david gurg enwergen was saying. let's say it is a major,
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political controversial issue -- >> i should tell you before you go on, the series was shot a long time ago and he has no involvement. >> well, but we don't know what will come up, that's my point. we don't know how the american people will react to certain episodes. and will the president want his name on it? >> and we should say, as i said in the previous show, ronald reagan got royalties and residuals from movies and productions. our current president, president barack obama also got royalties from his book as well. so i guess many -- probably for good reason, don't see what the whole controversy is here. john, i'm curious to hear what your listeners are saying about donald trump taking on the union boss via twitter. tell me about that. >> thanks for having me on december 8th, the one-month anniversary of donald trump's historic victory. the victory i predicted on your show 20 consecutive times and i told you every state he was
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going to win. i appreciate coming back. look -- >> get that on the back. >> thanks for having me. >> go on. >> look. the carrier situation, the union leaders much like the leaders in the democratic party are totally out of touch with the constituents and their members, talking about what deal was made or corporate welfare or some jobs might not go here or there. here is the bottom line. tell that to the 1,000 families whose jobs got saved before christmas from carrier. tell that to them. they don't care. a lot of this has to do with the elite establishment, both in the democratic part and the republican party, those so-called heritage foundation, pure conservatives that conceive everything in some kind of a philosophical petri dish. >> john, not to be disrespectful. >> they saved 1,000 jobs. >> not to be disrespectful, but
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my question is what are your listeners saying? >> my listeners are saying they saved 1,000 jobs with carrier. they hope donald trump saves jobs for them. >> it is what you are saying now, it was less than 1,000 jobs. he wanted to correct the president-elect on that, and then it turned into a big thing about, you know, the president-elect tweeting and going after him on twitter when it wasn't 1,000 jobs, it was less than that. so -- >> well, it might be less than that right now but it could be over that when everything is said and done. >> yeah. >> when president-elect's policies go into place. but the union leader there was out of touch with his members. they voted for trump. he has no idea what is going on. trump's policies are going to save thousands and thousands and thousands of jobs for americans all over america, whose jobs have been shipped overseas, who have been sold out by the elites in both parties. >> and that is the hope -- that is the hope, but, dennis, i want
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to ask you, this man is now receiving death threats as a result of trump's tweets. should he be more careful what he puts out on twitter? >> first of all, i believe anybody who sends a death threat needs to be followed up by the fbi. i and everyone in public life receives death threats. it is a sad fact of american life. i don't blame the president anymore than i blame president obama -- >> not the president though. >> the president-elect. >> no, i said you're not the president. >> oh, i understand that. but death threats are death threats. president obama keeps mentioning periodically ferguson, the police officer involved in ferguson who was acquitted by a jury that included not only african-americans but black nationalists, acquitted the man of all charges, and that man gets death threats, so much so he is basically in hiding and perhaps for the rest of his life. it is not fair, and this has to stop. but i don't blame the president for saying something critical
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about a union head. >> i don't remember the president tweeting out something negatively about the police officer in ferguson. >> saying in ferguson, you don't need a tweet. >> come on now, ferguson is so far -- look, let's be quite candid about this. if this president-elect is going to be so thin-skinned that he is going to tweet every time somebody says something negative about him, he's going to be the tweet king of the universe. the reality is he only tweets when it is about him. da don, how come he didn't tweet about the nazis that showed up at texas a& m. but whenever it is about donald trump, when it is about him he is quickly on it. first of all, to be quite candid he ought to put down the darn phone and pick up the briefing papers that the intelligence community keeps telling him he needs to read and do some deep
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diving in what is going on. >> okay. >> the second thing i want to say is why don't you ask me what my callers think about what the union member said. matter of fact, his members have called my show and they are behind him 100% because they are absolutely ticked off that they were not told the truth. there was 800 families that saved their jobs, but there are about 300 or 400, and some of them are white collar people that have lost their jobs. now you've got these -- some people are happy and some people are sad, and the reality is that they're upset because they were told it was 1,100 jobs and it turned out to be maybe 700 when we finish, if not fewer. and, and, and carrier's ceo told them, the head folks told them that they could have reduced their salaries to $5 an hour and carrier was still going to move
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to mexico. >> well, i did not have to ask you because i knew you would just say it like you just did. >> all right. >> that analysis is correct. in two years the american public has something called elections to undo this election. >> and that's what i'm going to be fighting myself for the next two years, you're absolutely 100% correct. >> i'm sure, i'm sure. >> we're out of time. we see why you guys are on the radio because you know how to talk. thank you very much. i appreciate it. when we come back the man who says donald trump's cabinet is full of fat cats and mad dog generals. i'm going to ask him which worries him most. ♪
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donald trump becomes president in 43 days, but how is his cabinet shaping up? i want to bring in cnn political commentator charles flow. hello to both of you. thank you for coming on. start with you, mr. charles glow. you named him mad man of the year. you said he is running one high and one low, one of frif olity and one of consequence. one is a campaign of bread and circumstances, bomb bass about random issues it of the moment,
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all meant to distract and excite, and the other is constant assembleage of fat cats and mad dog generals, a virtual aviary of vultures and hawks. say what you really feel. which concerns you the most? >> there are a lot of them, particularly the justice department, epa, labor today, carson with housing. a lot of the people who he is putting into positions have real -- have positions and stances that go against what those agencies are about. so if you put someone in charge of the epa who is a climate change denier, who has constantly sued to block legislation and regulations that the epa was imposing, what does that portend for that agency? what does the future look like?
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maybe the people will have great change of heart and change their minds and be much more moderate in office, but there's nothing that suggests that will be the case. and if they follow the same course that they have taken and the positions that they have taken even very recently, over the last few months in addition to over their lives, then we are in a real crisis here. >> alice, i had ari fleischer on, the spokesperson for george w. bush, and he said these people serve at the pleasure of the president, and it is basically what his policy is, not necessarily their policies. do you agree with that? >> absolutely. that's more than likely the way it will flesh out. i will say this with regard to a lot of the picks, that what we' we're seeing with epa it is not only sole focus on climate change. one of the big focuses donald trump has had and also the person he put in that position is doing away with the burdensome federal regulations in that department and in many
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industries which are job-killing regulations. that's an important factor as well as the new labor appointee. this also would go doing away with the burdensome government regulations and putting american jobs first. and one of the key factors is making sure we don't raise minimum wage to the degree where there are jobs lost. i think these are important distinctions with each of these different departments, that one of the big factors that donald trump campaigned on was getting government out of the way and reducing job-killing regulations. in each of these instances we have seen the last few appointees, that's going to be their priority number one, is putting american jobs first and doing away with regulations that kill jobs, and that's an important step. >> is it just -- go ahead, charles. is it just about regulation because there has to be some balance, right? it is not just about jobs, but watching out for the environment, people's safety. >> regulation is one of those squishy words that could be almost euphemistic.
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when you say regulations, use more common language. what the epa is doing is making sure the air you breathe is breathable and that the soil in which we plant is not poisoned and the water we drink is drinkable, and making sure it survives generation after generation after generation. when people say let's get job-killing regulations out of the way, what the epa's job is, is environmental protection. we're trying to protect the environment so that if you have a kid and i have a kid, that those kids grow up in a world where they do not have to look at the water and wonder whether or not that water can be -- they can drink it or will it poison them. that is what this kind of euphemistic regulation is. >> here is what you write. you said, i feel like america is being flashed by a giant neutralizer,a law men in black.
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we are forgetting and losing sight of the menace taking shape before us. what do you think -- >> there are big challenges ahead. what's the biggest challenge ahead do you think? >> there are many. the domestic challenges, which is job creation, kind of harmony, societal harmony and justice in america, and then there's the international ones which is we have a lot of kind of players who are not necessarily so stable on the world stage, who are being -- you are advocating right now and we still have the threat of isis. and he is building a cabinet of -- you know, there's more brass on his cabinet than there is at trump tower. you know, it is general after general after general. >> a lot of brass. >> right. and he ran as a populous candidate who would look after the little guy and he is stacking the cabinet with
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billionaire after billionaire after billionaire. that worries me. i don't know how they will behave when in office, but it is worrisome. >> alice, what do you think about him surrounding himself with so many generals? >> i think with regard to what he said throughout his campaign that defeating isis will be a critical component of his administration, and who better to fight the war with isis and who better to take on leading our national security than people who have actual real-world experience in doing so? and mattis is someone who is very beloved by those who served under him and has a tremendous reputation, and i can't think of any people better to take on this responsibility for our national security than those two. >> that's one. >> i think that's -- and another point with regard to how he's filling up his cabinet, these are people that have experience in the real world, and i think it is important, and i think it is important, charles, i understand your frustration with how you see things shaping up. but i strongly encourage you and
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others who may share your sentiment to take a page from hillary clinton and barack obama who said give him a chance. give an open mind and open our eyes to giving him the opportunity to show what he's doing, and maybe in a year go back and look at this op ed and see if you are right, and maybe you will be. >> let him respond. >> let's give him a chance and see how things flesh out. i'm also encouraged by the fact he is building a relationship, it appears, with the president -- >> let him respond before we run out of time. >> i think it is important. give him a chance. >> go ahead. >> i think barack obama's role and my role in this society are very different ones. barack obama is the sitting president. it is incumbent upon him there's a smooth transition of power from one person to another, just the same way george w. bush transferred power to him. that is really important. i actually believe that that is important for the president to do. me as a writer, as an observer, as a bearer of witness to what is happening in this country, i
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have no such obls as that. my obligation is very different. it is to continue to shine a light on who this man actually is, and not let that get lost in the fog of the moment, not let that get lost in the fog of tweeting, not let it get lost in the mass acceptance and normalization of this man. it will never be normal to me, i will never say it is okay. he has never apologized for any of the horrendous things he has said and done and he still does not do that. when he makes a mistake, like when he got the number wrong on how many jobs would be saved at carrier, instead of just being magnanimous and saying i got it wrong, it is a good deal anyway, thank you for pointing that out, he attacks that man personally. that is a character flaw to me that i will not be able to get over. >> yeah. >> i have got to go. thank you very much. i appreciate it. when we come back, fighting hate speech. when a neonazi comes to town do
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you face him down or retreat to your safe space? that's coming up. >> but first i want to tell you about a reminder that the 10th annual cnn all star heroes premieres sunday night, co-hosted by anderson cooper and kelly ripa.
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when white nationalist leader richard spencer spoke at texas a & m university there was a demonstration to protest his appearance on campus. is it the best way to fight hate speech. john mcgourder, linguistics professor at columbia university. author of "words on the move." good to have you. there was a protest, richard espner, face of the alt-right. you said, as promising and pro productive as protest activities may prove to be, their premise misses the point. no protest should wall itself off from what it is arguing against. >> yes. >> i think i know what you mean by that but explain. >> what i mean is the idea cannot be that the campus should have been a safe space from spencer, and if you are going to protest it will be somewhere else and that you're not going to go into the space where he's speaking and argue against him.
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there's this new idea that even to acknowledge the presence of somebody like that is to be unsafe, that it is like some sort of kryptonite. i think we know that intelligent, self-contained college students are not so delicate that they can't stand to hear somebody say something they find obnoxious. it is a performance. it is a way of saying we understand that this is wrong, but unfortunately it means that you end up not engaging the enemy where the enemy lives. >> so when you debate someone like that or give someone space or a platform like that, even when they're so repugnant, their views are, do you in some way legitimize or normalize them. >> you mean when you argue with them do you give them legitimacy? >> yes. >> no, when you argue with them you are showing people there are counter-arguments to what they are saying. if you never engage them, certain people will look at them and think maybe they're right.
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if anybody doubts there are people that think like that, in the last presidential election we learned there are people that are willing to hear that kind of talk out or don't think it is a big deal. if that's what they think, how will you convince them the other side is wrong if your response is that it is an unsafe space when you're there so we're going to run away and perform. >> i love what you wrote when you said there's an element of performance on all protests. you said the safe space rhetoric has permeated so deeply the left is using a display of weakness as strength. >> yes. it has gotten to the point where you think saying i can't stand to hear what you're saying, even when it is really not offensive or something that you would rather not hear, you're saying i can't stand to hear it, i'm weak, look at me. that is supposed to be sticking your fist in the air? nobody would have understood that who called themselves a leftist 50 years ago. you are supposed to show strength. you're not supposed to just
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dismiss or cry and pretend that somehow that is strength. weakness will never be strength. if that's your message, you can't be surprised when onlookers sitting on the fence are not impressed by your methods. >> here is richard spencer. listen. >> the fact that they want to fill a football stadium for the world's largest safe space shows how much power the alt-right and our ideas have. the more energy they direct towards us, the more powerful we become. we'll become more powerful than they could ever imagine. >> what do you think? >> you know what i think? it seems people are pretending is some sort of hitler or some sort of jesus christ, that there's some sort of magic he is going to do. oh, my goodness, he's on the campus and he might turn everybody into a bigot. i didn't see any grand oration
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there. you could knock it down with a little bit of sense. instead, you are across campus performing. i don't think that's the proper way. when i was in college, it was different, darn it, and i think we need to go back to the way it was in the '80s when you would have gotten in the face of somebody like that instead of allowing them to have their say and saying you're too weak to be near them. >> amen. that's why on this show we like to have -- we like to engage in debate. >> right. >> because it is easy to knock that down. but news organizations are wrestling with this group, calling it the alt-right, but it is really white -- it is a euphemism for white supremacy. do you have a problem with somebody like him being on cnn or other news organization sns. >> no, we need to hear about people like that. if we don't hear from people like that, you get the same people that don't like him saying, you don't understand how much racism is out there. well, let people understand.
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as far as alt-right being a euphemism. we know what it means. there's a split between words and expression and what they mean. it is at the point -- this goes beyond educated circles, but alt-right is not a faceless terms it it refers to white nationalists, people with a white supremacist ideology. we know in about 15 years it will be so well-known they will have to change their name. we should not i think at this point decide that the educated person is supposed to beat somebody about the head whenever they say alt-right. we are doing -- >> that term doesn't exist. >> we are doing too much of it lately. there are some terms we need to ban and talk about. there are several terms such as racist and white supremacists i think we use too much. i do think we shouldn't say radical islam, but let's not have yet another term that we beat people up about for saying when i think anybody who is really interested in this, who knows what alt-right means and if they don't they will in about ten minutes. >> john, on the right there's a
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tendency to dismiss talk about racism as political correctness. donald trump tapped into that big time. >> i think the big problem this country has is being politically correct. i've been -- [ cheers and applause ] >> we cannot afford to be so politically correct anymore. [ cheers and applause ] >> whether we like it or not, and we can be very politically correct, but whether we like it or not there is a problem. >> do you agree with him, john, that political correctness is one of the country's biggest problems? >> i don't think it is one of the country's biggest problems, but i do think pc has gone too far. i think it is true that a large segment of americans are really tired of being told what they can and cannot say to such an extent. i know it from my own twitter feed depending on what i say in any given week. that doesn't mean we can walk around saying anything we want, but the pendulum has swung too
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far. i think that the left and liberals -- and i count myself among the liberals -- need to pick more carefully what we decide to beat people up for saying. the terms racist, and especially lately this business of saying supporter of white supremacy when what you really mean would have been called racist five years ago, it is abusive of language. it is mean and it only gives fodder to people incapable of thinking about these things with nuance at all. >> tom mcworther, always a pleasure and learning experience. thank you so much. >> thank you, don. >> we will be right back. ur cre? i think we could finally get a bigger place. [doorbell chimes] hi! charades? yeah, let me check my score too. try credit karma. it's free. check out credit karma today.
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t one of donald trump's first moves after his election last month was to make steve bannon his chief strategist and he ignored calls to reverse that. here to discuss peter biener, contributor to the atlantic. author of the israel warrior. andy dean, former president of trump productions. good to have all of you on. thank you very much. rabbi, i want to talk with you because you posted this last night. it is on twitter, a picture of yourself with stephen bannon,
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the anti-defamation league criticized bannon saying he embraced the alt-right, to a loose network of white nationalists and anti-semites. by tweeting do you think you are giving cover to bannon and his questionable attitude towards jews? >> the alt-right is deplorable and let's condemn it. when it comes to anti-semitism, steve bannon has opposed the -- i am moreau posed to -- he has opposed bds which is an anti-semitic atick to destroy the state of israel. he opened a bureau in israel to get his message out. it is a tiny democracy whose legitimacy is challenged on a daily basis. we had a substantive conversation about human rielts. i believe that the trump administration needs human rights agenda. there are people dying in syria in aleppo every day and the united states has done nothing.
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castro dies and our president makes a neutral statement and ignores firing squads. banion and trump made a strong statement about human rights abuses of the castro regime. i was grateful he heard me on that. i hope there will be a strong human rights -- >> my question is are you giving him cover for tweeting that? >> for anti-semitism? >> yes. >> there's no reason to believe he is anything but a friend of israel. i don't believe in smearing their reputations without evidence. >> peter? >> i wouldn't accuse steve bannon of being anti-semite. i think his public indication that he ran could be called anti-muslim bigotry. saying to hoist the flag high and proud and demeaning stuff about women. i hope you challenged him about that and on the fact this is a candidate -- you have done a lot of work on syria which i think is wonderful. this is a candidate, donald trump, who ran against the admission of syrian refugees.
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i hope you tried to convince him to change his view on that. >> well, i could -- >> we absolutely discussed all of that on the contrary. the reason there's a syria refugee crisis is that the united states decided to impose a no fly zone, decided not to enforce the red line when syrian children were gassed. i hope you challenge the administration on all of the things. we wouldn't have a refugee kroo crisis, syria is turning into a quagmire. >> you challenged him on those issues? >> we had a substantive question for them to have a strong human rights administration. that's the gloss on the shine any administration gets if it stands up for human rights. >> andy dean, go ahead. >> if i could about the steve bannon stuff because it is outrageous when i watch on the television. he is a huge supporter of israel. where a lot of the anti-steve bannon stuff is from the anti-defamation league. the guy who leads that is a guy by name of jonathan gleanblatt who worked for obama, runs in
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far left circles. the republican juish coalition backed steve bannon. cofounder of home depot came out with a glowing statement how he has known him his life and he is a big supporter of israel. we are seeing the adl that doesn't represent all jews, hates steve bannon, the republican coalition which is a group that likes steve bannon. it is more about poll san part ticks than anti-semitism. >> that doesn't make a lot of sense. first of all, if the adl is so far left how come they've come out against keelgt el he son. >> first they supported him. >> no, no, then they -- >> one at a time, please. >> the reason that the adl is critical of steve bannon and the republican jewish coalition is not is that the adl is concerned about misogyny and racism and islamophobia and the -- again, i have not said that steve bannon is an anti-semite. i said brightbart trafficked in anti-muslim bigotry, misogyny and racism in support of the
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confederate flag. the jews you are talking about don't care about that. >> can i be fair for a moment? >> peter. >> you know that the adl -- greenblatt is a friend of mine. >> then the came out -- >> they implied he is an anti-semite. >> i'm not saying that. >> be more careful. as far as extreme rhetoric that can appear on brightbart or anywhere else, i have seem people say things in huffing ton post that were despicable. even the most respected ju of our time times covers over jewish behavior. we have made statements we are not proud of. >> criticizing ellie buzzell who i call a hero, i don't think not being critical enough of the israel occupation of the west bank is saying that women -- who suffer sexual harassment online should get off line. >> i'm saying if you take a
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nobel peace laureate and the face of the six million you say he is covering over jewish atrocity -- >> i just want to get to the specifics of what you said. air yana huffing ton never said i am the platform for some racist group. steve bannon has said he is the platform for the alt-right. >> and i would challenge him on that, and i am very grateful to him that amidst his myriad sponltsd he was generous to talk about human rights specifically. i believe amidst trump saying he doesn't want quagmires in the middle east and troops on the ground, there has to be a language of freedom i feel has been missing from the obama administration. i think we have to condemn assad. i think that the trump administration beginning with the castro statement, there was an opening. that was the purpose of the meeting and i'm grateful for it. let me say this country stands for principles among which are
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human liberty, the dignity of the human person. we have to hear about it in politics, not just economics. and that's what you stand for that, i stand for that. >> but i -- >> this is a -- >> let him -- >> i agree with you. it is like talk binge the trump administration, it is like we are living on a different planet. he took a call from the dictator in egypt. he said night things about leadership of north korea. we never had a presidential candidate openly hostile to human rights. he has to do a lot of work -- you have to do a lot of work -- >> let's both work on that but let's be fair. president obama has praised -- >> andy. >> okay, quickly. i have got 20 seconds. go ahead, andy. >> i was going to say al sissi is a genius. he took out the muslim brotherhood. >> killed tens of thousands. >> i know the three of us are jewish, and i have heard you could be jewish and the four of us. you are seeing different opinions here and that's
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natural. i think it is a partisan issue, not an anti-semite. steve bannon is a smart guy advising trump, not a big olt, home owe foeb, racist, anti-women person. >> coming up, a tribute to an american hero, the late john glenn. my doctor. my dentist. definitely my wife. hey wait. we have better bubbles. make sparkling water at home and drink 43% more water every day. sodastream. love your water.
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before we leave you tonight i want to take a moment to pay tribute to the last great american hero, john glenn, the fist american to orbit the earth. died today at 95. he will be buried with full military honors in a private ceremony at arlington national cemetery. cnn's martin savage has more. >> reporter: john glenn, one of america's first astronauts, one of seven men known as the mercury seven, chosen to take part in the united states first attempt to put men in space. he had already made history in 1957 by breaking the transcontinental speed record, flying from los angeles to new york in three hours and 23 minutes. in 1962, the military test pilot became the first american to orbit the earth. as glenn lifted off in friendship seven capsule, fellow
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astronaut in mission control uttered some of the most memorable words. >> god speed, john glenn. >> three revolutions and four hours and 55 minutes later he returned an instant legend. he was awarded the congressional space medal of honor and new york threw him one of its signature ticker take pa raise. later in life he would poke fun at the risk. >> we used to joke about it in the past when people said what do you think about on the launch pad. the standard answer was, how do you think you would feel if you were on top of two million parts built by the lowest bidder on a government contract. >> glenn's success bolstered american's spirit and gave credence to john kennedy's promise to put men on the moon. j.f.k. ordered him not to fly again, he was too valuable an american figure. he resigned in 1964. >> i didn't much care for the
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movie. i thought it was dramatic enough without hollywood doing this number on it. we had no control over that at all. >> he learned to fly as part of a college course, and went on to join the marine corps in 1943. glenn flew 149 combat missions in world war ii and korean war before becoming a test pilot. after leaving nasa, he spent the next decade as a businessman. but in 1974 he ran for and won a u.s. senate seat from ohio. when he announced he would retire at the end of the 105th congress, glenn had served for 24 years. he was widely regarded as an effective legislator and moderate democrat. not everything went perfectly for glenn however. in 1984 he ran for president. >> with the nomination of my party, i firmly believe i can beat ronald reagan. >> john glenn never gave up on his dream of one day returning to space. he got to be, as he often called it, a willing guinea pig once again. at the age of 77, he flew on a
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nine-day space shuttle mission. the mission was to learn more about the aging process in space. the flight proved once again glenn was a man who embraced a challenge. in 2012, president obama recognized that and all of his accomplishments by awarding the former astronaut and senator the nation's highest civilian honor, the presidential medal of freedom. for most people, fame is fleeting. for john herschel glenn, it for john herschel glenn, it lasted a lifetime. -- captions by vitac --
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new overnight. donald trump takes his thank you tour to iowa. he defends his cabinet picks and promises more american jobs while keeping apparently one of his own. on the "celebrity apprentice." the nation is mourning the loss of the american hero. john glenn knew no limits. we reflect on his life and legacy. welcome to "early start." i'm alison kosik. >> i'm john berman. it is friday, december 9th. how is this for job sharing in commander in chief


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